Last season recap for men’s soccer


Ryan Meyer

The Eastern men’s soccer team huddles before taking the field for the second half against Green Bay Tuesday at Lakeside Field. The Panthers and Phoenix played to a 1-1 tie.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

With two pre-season games now behind them, the Eastern men’s soccer team will open their regular season on the road on Thursday.

The Panthers will take on Green Bay Thursday evening at 7 p.m. while the regular-season opener is scheduled for Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. against Southern Indiana at Lakeside Field.

Last season, the Panthers finished 2-12-1 overall and 1-5 in the Summit League, earning them last place. They concluded their season with 126 shots, 67 saves, and 48 corners.

Their two wins of the season came against St. Thomas and IUPUI, both games were won with a score of 1-0. The Panthers will be looking to turn it around this season under new head coach Josh Oakley.

The Panthers will see four goal-scorers return to the field this season: graduate student Chad Hamler, junior Julian Smith, junior Brennan Rzewuski, and sophomore Prince Okonny.

Out of the returning midfielders, Hamler had the best 2021 season as he finished with 14 shots and a .071 shot percentage to go along with a .429 shot on goal percentage. Smith followed behind with 10 shots and a .100 shot percentage. Smith’s shot on goal percentage was .300 on the season.

Senior forward Maxwell Allen will also return to the field this season for the Panthers. Allen led the team last season with nine shots on goal. Graduate student forward Reed Axthelm will also return for the first time since 2021 due to an injury.

The Panthers will be without goalkeeper Jonathan Burke this season. Burke started 12 matches last season and in those 12 matches, Burke accumulated 49 saves which ranked second in the Summit League. Burke finished last season with a .721 save percentage and averaged 4.08 saves per game.

There are only two goalkeepers listed on the Panthers’ roster currently, Chad Smith and Mac Vanoudt. Smith is a sophomore who played five matches last season as a freshman and ended the season with a save percentage of .640. Vanoudt is a redshirt senior who appeared in two matches last season and allowed zero goals in eight shots faced.

The Summit League will begin the regular season later this week with conference play scheduled to kick off Sept. 24 starting with the Panthers taking on the Tommies in Minnestoa starting at 12 p.m.